Ahead of white nationalist Richard Spencer‘s speech in Gainesville Thursday, Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel issued a lengthy statement condemning the “neo-Nazi.”
While Bittel was at it, he castigated Gov. Rick Scott for failing to condemn President Donald Trump and his “stunning lack of moral leadership,” adding that any politician who failed to offer such condemnation is “unfit to lead” Florida.
“Politics is seldom ever so clear cut, but this is truly a moment of moral clarity. Richard Spencer is a neo-Nazi, and his supporters are neo-Nazis. These are the same white supremacists that descended on Charlottesville, armed to the teeth, and looking for a fight. An innocent woman was murdered because of these people. Make no mistake, they are coming to incite violence,” Bittel wrote Wednesday morning.
“The ideology of Spencer and his supporters directly attacks the mere existence of so many who call our state home—black, Hispanic, Jewish, LGBT—when any group of Americans are under attack, it is incumbent upon us all to treat it as an attack against every American,” Bittel added.
Bittel then pivoted to a reminder that, in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, President Donald Trump referred to those forces aligned in favor of Confederate monuments as “fine people.”
“And contrary to what Donald Trump would have you believe, the violent white supremacists and hatemongers invading Gainesville this Thursday are not ‘fine people’. Any politician who fails to challenge our President for his stunning lack of moral leadership—our governor chief among them—is unfit to lead a state as diverse as Florida,” Bittel added.
“White supremacy is an evil we cannot ignore. When leaders like our governor fail to challenge the President for embracing white supremacists, it becomes all the more urgent that the rest of us speak out—clearly, unequivocally, and loudly. We must let it be known that we reject hatred in all its forms,” Bittel continued.
While Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency ahead of the event, he stopped short of taking President Trump to task for his reaction to Charlottesville.
Per the Orlando Sentinel from August: “I’m not going to parse the president’s words, but here’s what I’ll say: It’s evil. It’s horrible. I don’t believe in racism, I don’t believe in bigotry,” Scott said. “I believe that the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, they don’t belong in our society.”
Scott’s team provided a response Wednesday morning, via John Tupps, Communications Director.
“Gov. Scott has been clear in condemning bigotry and hatred of any kind. He’s 100 percent focused on public safety and making sure that local law enforcement has the support they need.”